Let’s Discuss – Authors that Complain

September 20, 2014 Let's Discuss 55

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Okay, so there’s this author that I follow who complains on her blog (and probably elsewhere). A. Lot. She’s a self-published author whose books I’ve really enjoyed, but I have to say that her attitude is starting to sour me on the idea of reading her books. I’m not going to name names because my purpose here is not to call out a specific author, but to discuss an issue that’s frustrated me. But here’s the gist of what’s happening …

This author has one book that was a decent success for the self-publishing world. I absolutely LOVED the book, and it inspired me to buy and read ALL of this author’s other books as she’s been releasing them. I think she’s talented and I want to support her. I’m not sure that I ever loved any of the other books quite as much as the first, but I’ve really enjoyed them all.

But, here’s the thing – I’ve seen her write on several occasions that her most popular book is not her favorite at all – she tends to kind of talk down about this book and say that she really prefers her other books. This, in itself isn’t too bad – I mean, surely authors are allowed to have favorite books and their favorites don’t always match up with the most commercially successful titles. But it’s just that her tone has seemed to get more and more sour as time has gone on. At first I shrugged it off, but her last couple of posts have pushed me to the brink of not really even wanting to read her books anymore …

She just released a second book (or actually a novella) in the popular series – and then she wrote a blog post all about how much she HATED writing it. She couldn’t connect with the main character and just all around felt tortured about the whole process. She said she was SO glad to be done with the book because she hated it so much. Ooookay.

Still, I was willing to put it aside. Then today (well, today as of the day I’m writing this post) she posted another blog post. This one was all about how said novella didn’t sell as well as she wanted it to and how mad she was. She essentially said that she really only wrote it in the first place to get fans of the first book off her back and so that she could make money so that she could write the books she really likes, and now that it wasn’t making her the money she was expecting she’s sorry that she ever wrote it at all. It’s a huge rant about how awful the experience was, and how from now on she’s just going to write whatever she wants and forget about the fans, and her dream of becoming a full time writer is over … etc., etc. By the time I was done, I couldn’t help but think she sounded horribly nasty and ungrateful, and I found myself wondering if I really even want to continue buying her books at all. After all, my love of her first book had, apparently, ruined her life.

Now, I totally understand that being a self-published author can be frustrating. I know that it’s a steep and rocky road with lots of pitfalls and that sometimes the disappointment of not selling as well as you wish must be overwhelming. But I couldn’t help but think that this author would be WAY better off venting to her friends and family and leaving her fans out of it. And instead of whining about her negligible sales, she could work on really promoting her book – in a positive way. After all, when you release a book and then immediately blog about how much you hated it, people might not be so eager to buy it. No matter how much they loved the first one.

Of course, this author isn’t the only one who’s chosen to complain in a public forum – just last week I read about a Twitter rant from a popular author who basically told her fans not to keep bothering her with stupid questions like when the next book is coming out or reading order or other trivial things. She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to answer them. Even if that’s totally true, the fact that she chose to rant about it rather than just saying, “Sorry I don’t have time to answer these types of questions, but Goodreads is a great resource for those answers,” says so much about what the author thinks of her “stupid” fans.

So, what do you do in a situation like this? I’m choosing to give the author I’ve been referring to another chance and I still bought her book, but I’m not so sure I’ll feel like continuing to support her if her negativity continues. It’s just so sad.

How about you? Does an author’s attitude about their books affect your opinion of them? Would you still be reading this author or would you choose to forget her and move on?  I want to know!

55 Responses to “Let’s Discuss – Authors that Complain”

    • Nicole

      The ironic thing is that I don’t follow that many authors either, but when I realized that I had missed the release of one of this author’s books, I decided to follow because I really wanted to support her. Then it all backfired – following her actually turned me off on her books. Sigh … So sad.

    • Nicole

      Yes, the author did say in her post about how much she hated the book that she just felt the need to be honest. But in this case, I feel like honesty turned into bitterness and it all just made me less and less inclined to read her books. Like you said, it’s unprofessional. You need to have a public persona if you want to be in the public eye – leave the complaining for your friends!

  1. Lola

    From what you described here, here attitude sounds annoying. I always think that especially indie authors have to pormote themselves and not only their books. If people like you as a person, they are more likely to pick up your books as well. Well if this is her way of connecting with readers I don’t think she’s doing it right.

    I also find it weird she wrote a sequel she didn’t want to write, uhm maybe that’s the reason it didn’t sell? I am a firm believer that sometimes you just can’t force things and if you do what really makes you happy it shows. And if she forced to wirte a book she didn’t want to write, I guess it will show in her writing as well.

    In this case I think it would be very difficult to decide whether to continue reading her books or not. Especially if how the authors behavior leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It might sound like it’s only about the book, but especialy with indie authors a big part is also in connecting with the author. And indeed indie publishing can be hard, but I agree that this author can better whine towards her friends and stay a little bit more positive towards her fans. Maybe say it was a hard book to write instead of she hated it.

    I am not sure what I would do in such a situation, usually when an author’s behavior doesn’t sit well with me I do notice that I am less willing to give her books a try. But I haven’t had any authors whom’s books I loved, who behaved like this. I do have one author whoms books I used to love, but her 2 recent ones just didn’t work for me at the same time her behavior started to annoy me a bit and now I don’t think I’ll read any of her books in the future. But in that case it is a mixture of her books not being that good anymore and her behavior.

    • Nicole

      I think you’re right that Indie authors have to be even more aware of their image. After all, they are the only ones out there selling themselves and their books – they don’t have big publishing companies backing them. And while I haven’t read the book yet, so I don’t know if they quality of the writing was affected by her apparent dislike for the book, her saying she hated it certainly couldn’t have boosted her sales!

  2. Cassidie Jhones

    Okay, that’s just ticked me of a tiny bit there.

    First of all, why does she write a book she doesn’t like? If she doesn’t connect with the character why does she keep writing the same way? It’s not like she was forced to write the book in a certain way with a certain outcome and such.

    Secondly, I understand that it’s disappointing if you don’t have the success you wished for/expected, but it smells like greediness to me. It sounds like she only wanted to make money and that’s NEVER a good motivation. Of course her book doesn’t turn out so well if she’s not passionate about writing, but actually hate it and merely wants to gain on it.

    And finally, how can she expect people to buy her book when she practically says she’s fed up with her fans? I, for example, wouldn’t buy her book out of stubbornness after that. Because if she talks like that she doesn’t deserve it. And I’m quite positive I’m not alone.

    Cassidie Jhones recently posted: My Top Ten Favorite Video Games of All Time
    • Nicole

      I thought it was odd too – surely if you don’t like your main character you can do something about that, right? I guess she felt like she tried, but could just never quite get to the point of liking her. But, yeah, maybe that’s not the right book to be writing then (which was maybe her point in saying that she was only going to write what she wants from now on, but that probably could have been expressed in a better way).

  3. BRITTANY T

    I been avoiding throwing my 2 cents in on this topic cuz I was angry at first but it’s been a minute. I know this author I’ve see the posts first hand and I will not pick up one of her books now. I don’t know how I would feel had I read one first or not but the way she has been portraying herself screams “give me attention” and “pity me”. 2 things that are very unattractive to fans. There is a time and place and people to vent those frustrations too. She seems to be lashing out at the readers which isn’t cool. Vent to your friends , family, dog, or a psychiatrist. When your in the public eye you need to take a tip from Ron Burgundy and Keep it classy.

    BRITTANY T recently posted: ♡Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop♡
    • Nicole

      Ah, so I’m NOT the only one who noticed this and felt this way. Totally agree with you that there are plenty of people she could have vented to – her fans do not fall in that category. (And, yes, I also felt the “pity me” vibe, and it really frustrated me). I DID pick up this book, but after I did it I was kind of regretting it. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to reading it now, and I’m certainly not desperate to read her other books. It’s a shame because I’ve really enjoyed her books!

  4. Elizabeth

    This is precisely the reason I don’t follow authors on social media because anything complaint about what the author dislikes about their work, completely turns me off to their writing.

  5. DanaSquare

    Wow that is so annoying! I understand that sometimes writing a specific sequel can be harder than the first, but saying that they hated writing it is horrible.

    • Nicole

      I know, right? It’s one thing to say something like, “This was a really difficult book to write,” but quite another to say you hate the characters and the story and wished you’d never written it!

  6. Kim

    I’m OK with an author complaining sometimes about sales or difficulties with the writing process. I get it. Low sales can be very disappointing and it’s not easy to write a book, especially if you’re just not into it for some reason. BUT, I draw the line when they start bringing their fans into it. Blaming them for being excited about the “wrong” book or asking too many questions. I think in those circumstances I would be grateful that people were excited about any of the books I wrote, whether or not it was my favorite. Also, if your fans are “bothering” you with questions about your books, shouldn’t you just be grateful that that many people are interested in what you write? I think all that behavior is so ungrateful. It’s basically spitting on the people who have contributed highly to your success. I know about the second author you mentioned. Her particular problem could be easily solved with a FAQ section on her website, but if you look, she currently doesn’t have one. Anytime I see an author playing a guilt trip on their fans or shaming and insulting them, they’re off my list. So, no, I wouldn’t have bought another book by that author. I hope, since you’ve enjoyed her books and are giving her a second chance, that she becomes more positive and appreciative toward her fans.

    • Nicole

      Yes, the first time the author wrote about hating her book (and her main character), I kind of wanted to give her some grace because I felt like sometimes authors might have a hard time with a sequel – that’s not really her fault. But it was the second blog post where the tone really started to feel a bit ranty that got to me (and it really started to feel like she was blaming her fans for liking the wrong book). I understand that writing is hard and publishing is hard, but it feel like there are better forums for venting – the constant complaints start to feel alienating.
      And, yes, any author who complains about fans bothering them is just asking for trouble (and less fans).

  7. Liliana @ Lili Lost in a Book

    Oh hey, it’s Cas and Dean! Supernatural really has a gif for everything 😉 lol

    Anyway, I know exactly what author you are talking about… the second one anyway! I was so shocked to see her posts on FB! And after her publisher asked her to take down the two posts, she does so but then posts something else explaining that she was asked to take it down and then basically reiterating that her fans should not be asking stupid questions because she is so busy writing and blah blah blah. Before that, she posted something about being disappointed about not being on a bestseller list and just… she just sounded very selfish and plain rude!! I have not read any of her books, but attitudes like this really put me off from reading they’re material. The books may be the most amazing thing EVER, but I will never know because the authors were just being negative, not making me want to read they’re books. So yeah, the attitude of the authors does impact on whether or not I will read their book. I mean, why in the world would I read/buy someone’s books who insults their fans?? Ummm, no. Very ungrateful -_-

    Liliana @ Lili Lost in a Book recently posted: Book Inspired Nail Art: Velveteen by Daniel Marks
    • Nicole

      I haven’t read the second author’s books either – and now I don’t really plan to. I guess some people are just naturally more confrontational and they let that come through in their public persona. Not the type of person I want to deal with, though.

  8. Melissa @ Bookmark Dragon

    Ugh! I’m so sorry! What a terrible experience. I think there’s a difference between honesty and venting. People sometimes use the excuse that they’re “just being honest” to be unprofessional and crude. It’s really too bad, because there are constructive ways to express . If this author had learned how to do that maybe she wouldn’t be losing fans such as yourself.

    Melissa @ Bookmark Dragon recently posted: Feature Friday: The Best of the Bard
    • Nicole

      Yes, exactly! I don’t mind honesty – I don’t even mind an author telling me that certain aspects of their writing and publishing process are hard. It’s all about the tone of their posts – and these crossed into the territory of venting (or even ranting).

  9. Elizabeth @ A Thousand Lives Lived

    Okay, well I follow A LOT of authors because well I like to and I haven’t seen this at all. I don’t know, maybe I just happen to follow good people but I’ve never encountered an author complaining like you explained. The ones I know are very patient and good with their readers and followers. I guess I’ll have to look out for complaining authors now. Thank you for the post!

    Elizabeth @ A Thousand Lives Lived recently posted: Blog Tour: Somewhere Between Water and Sky by Elora Ramirez
  10. Trish @ Between My Lines

    I’m SO curious about why that author is?! First off, I really dislike negative people anyway and anyone that whines a lot on social media, very quickly find themselves unfollower by me. I think they have forgotten that whole point is to be social! And ongoing complaints is not that!
    And secondly, she dished her own book and her fans in public. I really don’t like that. It’s very disrespectful to all those who liked her book and her characters. I can understand her thinking a little but she needs to save those rants for private ears like you said. It’s kind of like when a band hate their most popular song and are forced to play it at every gig. If you know they hate playing it, it loses its appeal (well to me anyway).
    I know it would make me less inclined to buy her books in future as once you’ve seen that side of the author it’s hard to forget it. Great discussion!

    Trish @ Between My Lines recently posted: The Sunday Post : Get your Bookish News #48
    • Nicole

      I knew some people would be really curious about who this is. I didn’t want to turn this into a “don’t read this author” post, so I didn’t want to mention her name. Guess I just needed to vent about her venting. You make a good comparison with a band that doesn’t like their most popular song – I hadn’t thought of that.

    • The Avid Reader

      Oh my gosh, you said just what I’ve been sitting here thinking, “they’ve forgotten that the whole point is to be social”. Another author pet peeve of mine is the authors who ONLY interact with their bffs (usually other authors) on social media. Like they’ll post a tweet or a pic on Instagram and get a bunch of comments/questions from fans that they totally ignore, but then Author BFF comes along and leaves a comment, that comment gets an immediate response and then the author disappears again. It’s just clique-y and sort of weird to me. I don’t understand having all these social media platforms if you just DO NOT WANT to interact with your fans. Ugh I’m thinking of a particular situation from this weekend that really bugged me, but I can’t think of a way to explain it that won’t point a huge red arrow at the author. Let’s see. Basically the author in question posted about a certain unnamed event MANY times, all weekend tons of fans left comments asking about it, the author kept coming back all weekend to post more pics of said event but never answered any of the fans’ questions (all pretty much the same question). It’s just like… why? I don’t get it.

  11. Paij Slater

    Well if the author doesn’t have a confidence about their book, then I certainly am not going to read it. If I found out that an author I was reading was bashing on one of their books or complaining about it, then I would definitely quit reading. I want to read from an author who loves doing what they do. I want to read an author that is in love with sharing their talent with the world. I am sure it is scary and we are all our worst critic, but how can they expect the reader to like their work if they dont?

  12. Bregje

    I don’t follow a lot of authors, but when I do realize that an author whose books I read has not such a nice personality or just behaves very badly it definitely affects wheter or not I will read another book by them. After reading the first book of a certain series I realised that the author had been behaving really nasty towards other people online. I already owned the second book in the series and although I did really enjoy it I decided not to buy any more books in the series. Honestly I just don’t want to support such bad behaviour, because I feel like some authors, once they’ve gained succes, feel like they can do whatever they want without taking in account other people’s feelings.

    • Nicole

      Definitely. I don’t think this author was being mean so much as just complaining – a lot. I was okay with it at first, but then the longer it went on, the more her tone just got more and more negative. Eventually it just started to turn me off to her books completely.

  13. Joycedale

    I’m really curious about who they are now just so I can go stalk their page lol. I’ve never come arcoss this, although I follow quite a few on fb. Every indie author I follow has complaincomplained about the writing process at some point but its usually about wanting to meet their deadlines. All of them are nice and a few I even consider friends now.

    • Nicole

      I totally don’t mind when an author talks about the writing or publishing process being difficult – I get that, really I do. Which is why I gave this author grace for quite a while. It was the fact that her posts were sounding more and more bitter that really turned me off. I’m all for talking about your process – even when it’s difficult, but this just went too far and felt a bit like she was angry with her fans for loving the “wrong” books and for pushing her into writing sequels that she hates. The whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth. Glad most authors and friendly and pleasant!

  14. The Avid Reader

    I follow tons of authors because I’m an aspiring author myself, so I love seeing posts about the writing process, book signings and basically anything to do with writing or publishing. And I get that it must be hard for writers to be “on” all the time. Maybe some of them just aren’t that social or don’t have a lot of time to devote to interacting with fans on social media. I picture them sitting at their desks like “UGH I just want to WRITE, I’m not trying to be a public figure here!” But I feel like A) like it or not in today’s market this social media stuff is part of being an author, especially if you actually want to sell books and B) no one is saying you have to spend hours a day doing this, but occasional interaction would be nice.

    As far as complaining about their own work or fans, that would turn me off so fast. I already have an impossible number of books I want to read, if even YOU hate your book I’m happy to take it off my list.

  15. Kritika

    Wow, I would definitely stop wanting to support an author if s/he was so disrespectful to the readers. Writing something “to get fans of her back” is pretty sickening.

    It’s hard if you still like the stories, though. Something similar happened with me. One of my favorite books from my childhood is Ender’s Game and its sequels, and I have loved reading almost all of Orson Scott Card’s other books. When I got older, I was shocked by some of Card’s vocal and demeaning opinions about different groups of people. It was upsetting that someone who wrote books about acceptance could be so prejudiced. My compromise is to stick to library books – that way I get to read the wonderful books, but I’m not giving my money to someone whose opinion I strongly disagree with.

    Kritika recently posted: Review: Champion
    • Nicole

      I was paraphrasing about getting her fans off her back, but her actual statement was pretty darn close to that.

      I remember hearing something about Orson Scott Card, but I have to confess that I never looked into the details. It makes me sad.

  16. Anya

    Yeah…. that tends to make me want to stay far away from those authors, for one thing because I worry that if I post a not-glowing review, they’ll start complaining/attacking me D: Even self-pubbed authors need to keep in mind that blogs attached to their books are really marketing tools and will influence how their sales do, and therefore not the place to be negative about fans/sales/their books/other authors/bloggers/etc etc etc. In general I’m just not that into reading rants I guess, I mean if it is a rant that I empathize with or needs to be said, sure, but one rant after another is a quick way to lose followers/readers :-/

    Anya recently posted: Princess of Thorns Giveaway!
    • Nicole

      Yes, I actually thought it was slightly ironic that I was writing a post complaining about authors complaining (um, pot/kettle anyone?), but at least I’m not complaining about how much I hate my blog! 🙂

      I also find it ironic that this slightly ranty post about authors ranting is one of my most-read posts ever. Apparently, we all really do like to complain! LOL!

  17. Martha

    Damn! Your fans are the reason you HAVE sales and have a job as an author, why would you be so rude/whiney toward them? That would be a total turn-off for me. I love indie authors and thus far the ones I’ve followed haven’t displayed this attitude, thank goodness, because I think I’d have to pull the plug. Why should I spend my hard-earned cash on your book if you’re going to rant about how “stupid” I am as a fan?

    • Nicole

      Yes, I agree that most indie authors are really great (so are most authors, actually). And, to give this author SOME credit, she didn’t specifically say her fans are stupid – she just basically said they loved the wrong book and implied that they were bugging her. Yeah, still bad.

  18. Jen @ The Bookavid

    How cringeworthy… I don’t understand how you could be so stupid as a figure in the public eye to talk yourself down?? This sounds like a 14-year-old on fb calling their selfie ugly to fish for compliments. Seriously, this kind of crap belongs in High School. I would have broken up with that author.

    Jen @ The Bookavid recently posted: Feature Follow Friday #2: Going to BEA
    • Nicole

      I actually did end up breaking up with the author eventually, which made me kind of sad. I just can’t bring myself to recommend her stuff anymore or talk about her. In fact, just recently, I featured a huge giveaway that spanned tons of authors and genres and I specifically chose NOT to feature the contemps because she was one of the authors and I didn’t want to highlight her on my blog again. Kind of sad.

  19. Alison's Wonderland Recipes

    It sounds a little bit like she’s chronically unhappy with the writing process in general. From what you’ve said, she seems to be saying that no matter what you do as a reader (buy her books, don’t buy them, love them, hate them), she won’t be happy with it. Maybe the writing life isn’t what she hoped it’d be, and she hasn’t quite coped with that yet. Or maybe she’s disappointed with her own writing ability. Either way, it sounds like she’s taking her own unhappiness out on her readers, which is never a good thing. After all, it’s not your fault, and it’s not something you have the power to fix.

    I think it was big of you to give her another chance, though. Who knows? Maybe she’ll realize she’s putting off her readers and try to be a little nicer. 🙂

    Alison's Wonderland Recipes recently posted: Beautiful People #14 ~ My Novel Writing Plans for 2016
  20. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I know this post is years old, but I wasn’t even a blogger when you posted it, so you’re getting my comment now lol.

    “After all, my love of her first book had, apparently, ruined her life.” That line is just really cracking me up, haha. But I agree. If she wants her books to sell, to be worth the effort it took to write them, then she should be saying positive things about them, not complaining about how she doesn’t even like her own books. How can you expect anyone else to give your books a chance if you constantly put them down?! That would probably make me a lot less enthusiastic to continuing reading her books too.

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: The Weekly Update: 1/22/17
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Actually, it’s kind of fun to revisit an old post when someone comments on it. I eventually did unfollow this author and I still haven’t read any more of her books. It’s a shame because, like I said, I enjoyed her writing, but when the negativity continued to flow, I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

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